Giménez highway is an “ill-conceived waste of taxpayer and toll payer money” – and he sets the stage to give $60m of taxpayer money to political cronies and donors
Corrupt Carlos Giménez continues to fail Miami-Dade residents on one of our most critical challenges: reducing traffic and improving public transportation. This week, two of Corrupt Carlos’ favorite hair-brained transportation schemes are back in the news:
- His $1 billion toll road that would save Kendall commuters a mere six minutes of drive time while causing “unacceptable adverse … impacts” to the Everglades.
- The monorail project backed by mega-casino operator Genting that even Florida’s Republican Senators criticized. The project is being pushed by Giménez’s former campaign manager and finance chairman.
“Miami-Dade residents are stuck in traffic and demanding better public transportation. Rather than solving the problem, Corrupt Carlos Giménez is doling out favors to his political cronies,” said FDP Deputy Communications Director Luisana Pérez Fernández. “This week’s headlines demonstrate again that Corrupt Carlos flagrantly misuses taxpayer money to benefit his inner circle while he does nothing for working people.”
HEADLINE: Pull the plug on 836 extension. County failed to make the case it won’t harm Everglades | Opinion [Miami Herald]
- “The recent court ruling against the proposed State Road R836 Tollway extension into the Everglades should be the death knell for this ill-conceived waste of taxpayer and toll payer money. The judge ruled, based on evidence and testimony taken over an eight-day trial, that the project would do more harm than good.”
- “For years, MDX claimed that the tollway extension was the answer to traffic congestion in West Kendall. It insisted the extension would ease congestion while protecting environmental resources. But Suzanne Van Wyck, an administrative law judge for Florida, found both claims to be false. She ruled that the extension would provide only “meager” congestion relief. She found “no support” for the claim that the new tollway would improve “the commute time to downtown and other employment centers.” The judge also found that, worse, extending the tollway would exacerbate congestion on existing SR 836. She wrote, “Commuters will drive 13 miles, outside of the [urban development boundary], through active agricultural lands, through environmentally-sensitive lands, and through the West Wellfield, only to connect with the existing expressway operating at [a level of service] lower than it operates at today.””
- “She also found that the Tollway extension would destroy wetlands critical to threatened or endangered species and conflict with the county’s policy to protect and enhance areas that recharge the West Wellfield. She specifically held that the extension “creates a risk of contamination to the [county’s drinking water] wellfields.” Based on the judge’s rulings, it is impossible to see how the federal and state wetland and endangered species permits this project would require could ever be legally obtained.”
- “It is time for MDX, which already has squandered more than $7 million on consultants to plan this ill-advised attempt to meet modern transportation needs with another car-oriented highway, to pull the plug on the project.”
HEADLINE: Genting and partners submit $770M monorail bid to link Miami with Miami Beach [Miami Herald]
- “The private group formed by Genting and partners that would build and operate the four-mile “Miami Beach Monorail” would turn over fare revenue to Miami-Dade, in exchange for yearly payments from the county of $59.4 million over 30 years. The payment to a consortium that includes majority partner Meridiam, the company behind the Port Miami tunnel, would cover operating costs for the monorail trains and the developer’s construction costs with interest and would pay back the investors with profit over three decades.”
- “The monorail consortium was the lone bidder on what would be one of the priciest transit projects in the county since Metromover was launched in 1986.”
- “Genting’s partners in the monorail project also include two lobbyists who were at the center of Gimenez’s 2016 reelection bid: campaign manager Jesse Manzano-Plaza and finance chairman Ralph Garcia-Toledo.”
- “Gimenez, his wife, Lourdes, and Audrey Edmonson, the chairwoman of the County Commission that would vote on the contract, filmed a promotional video in early 2019 that had them pretending to ride the proposed monorail. Garcia-Toledo and Genting have not released the video, which the county declared a public record.”